Mark Rowe has become the first holder of a woodlot licence issued under the auspices of the Scottish Woodlot Association (SWA).
Mark, 32, runs a forestry consultancy and mobile sawmill business and has broad experience in rural land management.
The woodlot licence covers 37 ha of mixed woodland on the Corsewall Estate and initially will be an 18-month pilot to establish the concept, though all parties are committed to a longer term agreement following this first phase.
Under the terms of the licence Mark will be responsible for managing the woodlot according to a management plan agreed with the landowner, Angus Carrick-Buchanan.
This will include felling and extracting timber, which he will then be allowed to process and sell himself, as firewood and sawn timber. In return Mark will pay an annual rental for the woodlot.
The concept of woodlot licences has been inspired by the situation in British Columbia where the Provincial Government has been running a highly successful woodlot licence program on Crown land for over 30 years. There, they are seen as an important part of a diverse forestry sector, delivering particular local and community benefits, and as such are being actively promoted and expanded by the Government of B.C.
Brian McNaughton, general manager of the Federation of British Columbia Woodlot Associations (FBCWA) issued the following statement about the new Scottish forest tenure:
“This is a notable accomplishment and hopefully it’s the first of many woodlot licences in Scotland.
The FBCWA is proud to have been able to offer advice and encouragement. In a small way, we feel as if your success is our success. Congratulations!”
The Scottish Woodlot Association (SWA) has been established to take forward the concept in Scotland, where recent research has revealed the ownership and management of forestry to be highly concentrated. This results in both a lack of diversity in the sector, and also a lack of opportunity for individuals to get involved in managing woodland for themselves. The SWA hope in time that woodlot licence tenure will become an important ‘family forestry’ model in a more diverse Scottish forestry.
“This is a historic day for family forestry in Scotland, and we hope in years to come there will be many more woodlot licences established, supporting a flourishing woodland culture. However every journey has to start with a first step,” said Andy Brown, Secretary, SWA.